Critical Infrastructure Risks
In an October 2020 Homeland Threat Assessment, DHS warns of drone use by terrorists and criminal groups. Although not confirmed to be terror-related, they cite close to 4,000 incidents near U.S. critical infrastructure and public gatherings in 2019.
But it’s not only nefarious actors you should worry about. Clueless and careless hobbyist pilots can also pose serious threats.
Many organizations have only considered physical security from a two-dimensional perspective. While security searches of workers and vehicles may keep out weapons or small explosives on the ground, there’s no such perimeter security in the sky.
What if a drone flew into a perimeter fence? Or broadcast loud sounds of gunfire or explosions to create a distraction? It could cause crucial response team delays.
Then there’s the threat of cyber attack by drone. Saudi Aramco has reported an increase in attempted cyber attacks since the 2019 drone attack that halved their oil output. Although cyber attacks using drones have only been demonstrated thus far, it’s only a matter of time before this threat vector becomes more popular.
Further, drones can be used to remotely surveil sensitive properties with high quality video.
Even though the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has created regulations and guidelines for recreational flyers, many hobbyist pilots either don’t take the time to read them or don’t take them seriously.
This has lead to many incidents in which drones have either damaged property or caused serious public safety concerns.
For example, since 2014, five drones have crashed on Golden Gate Bridge roadways and one into a tower under the bridge. Luckily no one has been injured, but there are still no FAA restrictions for the airspace surrounding the bridge.
Another concern is that innocent aerial footage posted online by a hobbyist could aid in a future attack at a critical infrastructure site such as an oil refinery or power plant.
Locate the Drone and Pilot
AeroDefense’s critical infrastructure drone detection system, AirWarden™, detects drones as they enter your airspace. And can detect the pilot, even if they’re outside your facility.
Alert the Appropriate Personnel
The system alerts appropriate personnel via command console, text message or email, so you can respond quickly and effectively.
AirWarden can share information between deployments as well.
Review Detection Events
Users with access to reporting functionality can easily select and download information about a specific detection event, any number of detection events, and a summary of all devices detected. Users can also create an incident report of multiple detections with only a few clicks.
Mobile AirWarden™ sensors can be deployed on security patrol vehicles or marine vessels which adds flexibility and expansion to your detection system.
Read more about our mobile options.
Proven Effective in High RF Environments
Because the technology was developed in New Jersey and has been thoroughly tested where it is commercially deployed at MetLife Stadium, the system is designed to filter out other radio frequency (RF) signals in the environment. So the system can detect and locate, even in urban areas where there are many competing RF signals.
- 2015 – A drone flying over Phillips 66 Refinery in New Jersey, crashed into a car.
- 2016 – A power company in the Midwest hired a group of white hat hackers to evaluate current security systems. The hackers used a small, commercially available drone to remotely surveil the power plant’s security systems. This let them identify security equipment and gaps in security that would allow them to enter the plant and load malware onto computers. The sort that could trigger catastrophic events. You can watch the video here.
- 2017 – A drone crashed into a Con Edison power plant near the East River in Brooklyn.
- 2018 – Greenpeace crashed a drone at a French nuclear power station to demonstrate its vulnerability.
- 2019 – The Department of Homeland Security released the following video to outline the grave risk that drones pose to critical infrastructure:
- 2020 – Commercial drones drop small munitions on US troops who guard oil sites in Syria
This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are no airport related incidents because there have been many, but we all remember the Gatwick drone disruption in 2018 that cost millions and affected thousands of flights and passengers.
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